Beginning Tuesday, April 7, WTA will limit the number of people that can ride on its fixed route buses to no more than 12 passengers. Up to 15 will be allowed if those riding together are couples or parents with children.
If it appears there are already 12 people on board, the driver will ask anyone waiting at a stop to wait for the next bus.
When possible, WTA is running “trailers,” or extra buses on routes that have been attracting higher ridership. While fixed route ridership is down nearly 80 percent, there are some routes where the number of riders is limiting people’s ability to maintain a safe distance.
WTA continues to urge people to ride the bus for essential trips only, such as trips to the grocery store, pharmacy, or to keep medical appointments. Riders should plan extra time in case the bus they are waiting for has reached its maximum capacity.
Western Washington University’s Spring Quarter begins this week. Though classes will not be held on campus, there are several hundred Western students living in Bellingham. Buses on routes around the university are likely to meet the maximum capacity. In addition to making essential trips only, WTA urges students to walk or bike as much as possible, or to drive alone if that is the only alternative.
WTA General Manager, Pete Stark, said, “Limiting the number of riders we will carry was a difficult decision for us. But it was one we had to make, to protect the health and safety of our riders and drivers.”
Fares continue to be free until further notice. All riders enter and exit the bus using the rear door, unless they need they need to use the ramp.
Until further notice WTA is providing Saturday levels of service five days a week (Monday through Friday), and a Sunday level of service on Saturdays and Sundays.
For questions, please call (360) 676-7433.